Understood. Always. In special religious events [my focus for today] the center light, the main focus, is either one or two. For a Baptism it’s the one being baptized. For the wedding it’s the couple.
Today, though, I read of a wedding where the sister of the bride was included in the marriages vows. Not an endorsement of polygamy. No, not for a breath. The bride’s sister has Down Syndrome; she is precious to both families. The sister was included with the groom promising to support and care for the sister. And a promise if ever necessary to continue that care.
The sister was dressed in white…and dry eyes were not to be found.
I understand a marriage to be covenantal. That is an agreement between at least two people they will give their fullest for the good of the relationship. In this instance, the covenant included the sister, for caring and support. A special definition of relationship, a promise made with and before God.
I then thought. Have shared before in my own tradition, a member of a German Congregational Church in Portland, Oregon, the tradition was for the godparents to bring the infant forward for baptism. My father said, “I will take that responsibility.” My mother responded, “Henry! You need to know in baptism you are making a vow you will attend church and support Mark’s religious development.” He nodded and I’m told the godparents were not rankled. At least they never said word one about that, but always marked the day of my baptism with a card.
More in the thought. I’m sure it wasn’t perfect, although intent has favor. Whenever I celebrated the baptism, if there were other family children gathered, I would take a moment and speak to them about their new brother and sister and tell them they are important, not to be forgotten or neglected. And would give each of them a gift. No less, we’d gift the morning newspaper to the parents, because their child was baptized in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But, also into the swirling reality of the current day, in which their child would live and grow. God and Blessing and Life…not separated. The reality of whole family and current world seemed to be helpful.
And in weddings, if first weddings and parents of bride and groom were present, I would speak to them and ask them to support their daughter or son in their journey as husband and wife. And if second or third weddings, I would ask step-children or even adult step-children for their support.
Why all this? Because, maybe you’re not a stranger to this, as most of my life is lived, I’m finding particular stories or events unfolding a very large tapestry in which I recall moments. For instance, one of my dearest friends reminded me this week, when they brought their son to baptism well distanced from their home, the four of us together—because a pastor makes a vow, too—is part of their gladness. Their son is well into his 20’s now…and for them to recall. That unto itself is so very special.
Hopefully you, too, will recall your previous important moments and realize you were not singing a solo. And, no less hopefully, you’ll never have to.
Here’s the inspiring link: